Transfused RBC Storage and Mortality Rates Assessed in Large Cohort

No link for length of red blood cell storage, mortality in transfusion recipients from Sweden, Denmark
No link for length of red blood cell storage, mortality in transfusion recipients from Sweden, Denmark

HealthDay News — For patients who received transfusions in Sweden and Denmark from 2003 to 2012, there was no correlation between the length of red blood cell (RBC) storage and mortality, according to a study published online December 20 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Märit Halmin, MD, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues conducted a binational cohort study to examine the correlation between the length of RBC storage and mortality among patients who received transfusions in Sweden and Denmark. Data were included for 854,862 adult patients who received transfusions from 2003 to 2012. 

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The researchers observed no correlation between the length of RBC storage and mortality, regardless of the analytic approach used. For patients receiving blood stored for 30 to 42 days and those receiving blood stored for 10 to 19 days, the difference in cumulative 30-day mortality was −0.2% (95% confidence interval, −0.5 to 0.1%). The hazard ratio of death was 1.0 (95% confidence interval, 0.96 to 1.05) among patients who received more than six units of RBCs stored for 30 days or longer, compared with those who received no such units.

"Consistent with previous randomized trials, this study found no association between the length of storage of transfused RBCs and patient mortality," the authors write. "These findings suggest that the current practice of storing RBCs for up to 42 days does not need to be changed."

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